Cork City's Franco Umeh signs for Premier League club Crystal Palace

Cork City's Franco Umeh signs for Premier League club Crystal Palace

Franco Umeh after his goal for Cork City against Galway United in the U17 Mark Farren Cup final at Turner's Cross. Picture: Doug Minihane

CORK CITY forward Franco Umeh has agreed to join Premier League side Crystal Palace, the Irish Examiner reports.

The teenager, who turned 18 just last Thursday, is expected to move to Selhurst Park for €75,000.

Umeh is the third player from City’s academy to transfer to an English club this January, and he follows David Harrington to Fleetwood Town and Mark O’Mahony to Brighton & Hove Albion.

The striker originally joined the club in January 2020 from Ringmahon Rangers and he progressed through the academy, rising from the Under-15s to the senior team under Colin Healy. 

Umeh made his first team debut against Longford Town last June and he was rewarded for his work with a professional contract just two months later.

His greatest contribution to his home town club was scoring for City in a 2-1 victory over Galway United in the 2021 U-17 Mark Farren Cup final.

Umeh is best known for his work with the Republic of Ireland Under-17s and Under-19s, a run which has helped establish him as a natural goal scorer in an elite environment.

He first rose to prominence with Colin O’Brien’s Under-17s as he helped them top their European Championships qualifying group in Cork back in 2021. 

He also netted two goals in a 3-2 victory for the Under-17s against Finland in March 2022. 

Umeh took that form to the Under-19 qualifiers last year, and he netted a last minute goal against Wales that ensured Ireland will play in the next phase of the tournament.

Umeh has spent the last few weeks training under Colin Healy and he played for City in friendlies against Treaty United and Dundalk.

The coach played the forward on the left, with strikers like Ruairi Keating going through the centre.

It is understood that Crystal Palace has scouts at the Dundalk game watching Umeh, which was played behind closed doors in Dublin.

Umeh will link up with former Cork City Jake O’Brien at Crystal Palace, with the defender currently on loan at RWD Molenbeek in Belgium’s Challenger Pro League.

This is also another success story for Ringmahon Rangers, with Umeh now joining a long list of names of academy graduates that have went on to play football at the highest level.

He will join former players Alan Browne, who captains Preston North End, and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Adam O’Reilly also started out with Ringmahon Rangers, and he recently joined Derry City from Preston.

This is also another moment of celebration for Liam Kearney and the Cork City Academy as he is the third player to move to England this month.

That trio followed Cathal Heffernan, who signed for AC Milan last year, and Alex Healy Byrne, who signed for Burnley last year.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130


Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here


Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more